Martin Scorsese, Jennifer Lopez, and more pay tribute to Ray Liotta: 'So adventurous, so courageous'
Ray Liotta had a multi-decade career on screen, appearing in several film and TV projects that continue to endure in the popular and critical imagination. In the wake of his sudden death at 67, many of the actor's costars, collaborators, friends, and fans are paying their respects.
"God is a Goodfella, and so is Ray," Joe Pesci said Thursday in a statement to EW. Pesci won an Oscar for starring in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas alongside Liotta, who played the lead role of real-life gangster Harry Hill.
Lorraine Bracco, who also starred in Goodfellas as Henry's long-suffering wife, Karen, posted a heartfelt tribute on Twitter saying she was "utterly shattered" by Liotta's death. She added that every time she's asked about the Scorsese classic, she says her favorite part was working with Liotta.
"I'm absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta. He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor," Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese told PEOPLE in a statement. "Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas was a tall order, because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot. He absolutely amazed me, and I'll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture. My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early."
The juxtaposition between Liotta's tough-guy characters and real-life sweetness has been frequently noted in these tributes. Jennifer Lopez, who starred alongside Liotta for three seasons of the NBC cop drama Shades of Blue, wrote on Instagram that "the first thing that comes to mind is he was so kind to my children."
Lopez continued, "Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that's what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella."
Read more tributes below.